“Founder Friday” is a weekly series that profiles founders and entrepreneurs connected to The Ohio State University. Today, we are featuring Chris Asman, a student at Fisher College of Business, and his app, Studium. Discover how lessons from his father set up this young man for success.
Tell us about your business or organization.
Studium is a mobile app for college campuses; it targets issues of student engagement, retention, diversity and inclusion. In an effort to maximize a student’s opportunity to connect and collaborate with others, Studium allows students to build a valuable peer-network, notify their classmates when they wish to study together and discover in-person study sessions.
Why did you decide to take a leap and become a founder? How did you reach that decision?
One of my passions is creating conceptual products. I see or experience everyday issues and I develop solutions around them. I started doing this when I was 18 and by 20, I began to realize I wasn’t the only person with great ideas. If I really wanted to differentiate myself, I had to execute on these ideas.
When I launched this venture, I had four different concepts, including Studium, that I thought were viable products for the current market. After going back and forth for a couple weeks, I came to the conclusion that Studium made the most sense while I was still a student and could sit on both sides of the table as founder and consumer.
How have you had to develop your leadership skills as a founder? What leadership lessons have you learned through leading your organization?
I’ve always made it a point to surround myself with influential leaders in their specific space, and I believe this has had a huge influence on my ability and drive to lead others. My father has also been a huge influence for me. He started his painting company at the age of 19 and scaled it to the point of being a leading contractor in the country — tackling massive projects such as stadiums, hospitals and other large venues.
Growing up, I was always riding in the car while listening to him on the phone, checking job sites or attending events. That left me exposed to the “entrepreneurial” lifestyle at a young age, which I definitely believe had a large impact on my passion to do what I am today.
My venture has allowed me to learn so much about what it takes to be a quality, successful leader. It’s taught me how to communicate internally and externally on a professional level, how to get the most out of my network, how to get the most out of the people that I work with, etc. I could go on for days about everything I’ve learned in the past year and half, but I can confidently say this venture has not only taught me what is required to start and scale a company, but it’s also taught me so much about myself and what I’m truly capable of accomplishing.
Describe a success that has been made possible through your leadership skills.
We developed and launched a product! And I think this is something I and most others overlook. It took a lot of planning and coordination between designers, developers, myself and my partner, and I believe my leadership played a huge role is the success of our development.
I had to learn how to efficiently communicate with designers and developers to bring my vision to life, prioritize tasks and various phases to make sure nobody was delayed and each milestone was being completed on time. There was certainly some trial and error through the process, but by the end of it our team was operating like a well-oiled machine!
Based on your experiences as a founder, what is the most important leadership trait that founders must possess? How did you foster that trait in yourself?
You have to lead by example and understand that every decision made has weight, no matter how large or small you believe it may be at that point in time. This was something my father instilled in me at a young age and something I’ll carry for the rest of my life and career.
What other advice would you give a current or future founder about leading others?
This is a bit of an extension to “lead by example,” but people help those who help themselves. What I mean by that is people will be much more likely to provide you with their time, open up their networks and speak to others on your behalf when they can see that you’ve put the hours in to warrant their assistance.